The Basque country lies along the southwestern border of France and Spain, deep in the dramatic Pyrenees mountains. The eleventh century monks of Roncevaux made wine to cater to a population of tourists-religious pilgrims traveling through the mountain pass from France on their way to Santiago de Compostella in Spain. However, throughout the centuries, wine production dissipated drastically. Although Irouleguy was awarded its own A.O.C. in 1970, by the late twentieth century, most of the remaining vignerons were selling to the local cooperative.
Jean-Claude Berrouet is one of the world’s top experts on making wine from Merlot. He used his talents to oversee the winemaking at Chateau Petrus for 3 decades (and he consults on Silver Oak’s Merlot too). But he now makes just 2 wines in his home region of Irouleguy, French Basque country. The Rouge is not Merlot but Cabernet France and it’s delicous.